Taking a leap of faith is something Theresa Chan Chui knows a thing or two about. In a matter of four years Chan Chui has transformed her dream of owning her own fashion design boutique into a very stylish reality.
Her dream didn’t come easy though
She quickly realized a normal career wasn’t for her and that she needed to do something she loved—something that would blend her creative side and her business-oriented side.
Theresa herself had eyed Accounting as a career path but instead she went the opposite direction and she took what she says now chuckling was her “first leap of faith into elei printing.”
“From those early days, printing my elei prints from home, I saved enough to buy my first manual sewing machine from Eveni Carruthers and slowly build up my sales to open the first Emmareze flea market at Savalalo,” reminisces Theresa.
“With that dream, lots of networking, research, and unfailing persistence, Emmareze Fashion was created.”
Fortunately for Theresa, her sister Gina Tavita moved back home from the Stateside to help her with the business. Her in-laws in particular her mother in law, Josephine Chan Chui played a leading and inspirational role coupled by her parents unconditional support.
Well prepared, Theresa is set to continue on her journey as the wife of Dr. Emmanuel Chan Chui, mother of three, and an entrepreneur as her persona set out to be.
And as they say the rest is history with Emmareze moving up the ladder to secure a spot on the ACC Building ground floor.
Emmareze’s latest conquest was outfitting Samoa’s Rio Olympic Games squad this year and the spin off has attracted a new handsome contract from the Tokelau.
“We are fairly new in the industry and we’re learning as we go along,” says Ms. Tavita. “We’re starting small and thinking big.
“And we are capitalising on the social media such as Facebook as our main marketing platform to attract local and overseas clients.
“Emmareze Fashion isn’t your run-of-the-mill fashion—it’s where you go to find that one-of-a-kind piece you’ll cherish forever, nor is Theresa your typical business owner—she is present in every aspect of the store, from creating her own elei prints.”
“In a matter weeks, we will launch our screen printing expansion with the printing accessories soon to be installed.
“So overall, pieces of the puzzle are slowly falling in place.
“The mission behind Emmareze has always been to give customers a shopping ‘experience’—to make them feel a sense that they’re discovering something new and unexpected each time they visit. “
For the two sisters, they are both mindful that Samoa’s fashion designing is evolving rapidly with the industry becoming very competitive overnight.
“And we encourage Samoans with the designing talent not to give up.
“Fashion designing is career and prospect designers should take advantage.
“We Samoans are naturally talented designers because it’s our God given gift.
“So take the risk and get out of your comfort zones,” urged Theresa.
Emmareze is one of the five local designers hand picked by the Samoa Events Incorporated to showcase their Puletasi and evening wear during the Miss Pacific Islands Pageant week later this month with Miss Samoa Priscilla Finally Olano as model.
“Gina and I are both overwhelmed with the opportunity for Miss Samoa to be our model,” said Ms Chan Chui.
“It came as a surprise as we are small and new but it is also a privilege to be part of the Miss Samoa family and Miss Pacific Islands Pageant.
“It’s events of this magnitude and the recognition that gives business like Emmareze Fashion the enthusiasm to improve and set a pathway for new designers to follow.”
“Aside from the Facebook which has been such a wonderful tool for connecting with customers on a more personal level, and has introduced us to new clients, we have never been afforded the opportunity to showcase of work on this level.
“Thank you SEI and thank you Miss Samoa for the recognition and opportunity.”
Eight contestants will vie for the Miss Pacific Islands crown to be hosted by Samoa towards the end of November.